Monday, July 14, 2014

This week at the library; Huck Finn and the British crown

            Try as  I might,  none of the French-related books I investigated this week struck my interest, so for the first time since starting the tradition,  my Bastille Day reading is a nonstarter. C’est la vie.  On the bright side, last week I knocked off two books from my To Be Read list – An Edible History of Humanity, and The Small-Mart Revolution.  That means I’m officially closer to closing the list than opening it, because only four books remain.  Next up will be Fighting Traffic or Antifragile

Additionally, I read through Insurgent, the second in Veronica Roth’s SF dystopia. Set in a future-Chicago divided into five castes or factions, each with its own value-ideology, the first book saw evil statist scientists use computers to take over the minds of the warrior elite, using them to nearly wipe out the reigning religious caste in charge of politics  The lead character Beatrice Prior was raised in that religious caste and left it at her coming-of-age to become a warrior,  but she escaped the mind control and managed to prevent the worst of the slaughter, In Insurgent, she and the escaped warriors are refugees, being hunted down by the scientists and regarded with terror and suspicion by most of land, who think them a band of murderous outlaws. Fighting abounds, as the main characters adjust to their new roles as the dogged resistance, uncertain of what to do. Eventually they mount a dramatic assault against the baddies' fortress, but not to crush, kill, and demolish; Tris wants to find out why the big bad chief scientist is behaving so axe-crazily for.   It's thrilling, but all the bloody mayhem and psychological torture just left me feeling tired. Although this series predates the NSA's power-mad information accumulation,  the fact that the technocrat's chief power is the information she hides  means the computer center takedown at the end was rather satisfying. 

This week I'll be thoroughly enjoying Huck Finn, and hoping that the big brown envelope on a colleague's desk is my interlibrary loan copy of The Men Who Lost America.  Reviews for The Small-Mart Revolution and Good Natured should appear this week.

To Be Read Takedown Challenge 

Antifragile, Nassim Nicholas Taleb
The Vikings, Robert Ferguson (6/7/14)
Power, Inc; David Rothkopf (6/14/14)
An Edible History of Humanity, Tom Standage (7/8/2014)
Small-Mart Revolution, Michael Shuman (7/12/2014)
The World Until Yesterday, Jared Diamond (5/29/14)
Fighting Traffic: the Dawn of the Motor Age in the American City, Peter Norton
Earth, Richard Fortey
Good Natured, Frans de Waal (6/27/14)
 Galileo's Finger, Peter Atkins

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